You may be able to prevent your child from getting middle ear infections.
- Don't smoke. Ear infections are more common in children who are around cigarette smoke in the home. Even fumes from tobacco smoke on your hair and clothes can affect the child.
- Breastfeed your baby. There is some evidence that breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of ear infections, especially if they run in your family. If you bottle-feed, don't let your baby drink a bottle while he or she is lying down.
- Wash your hands often. Hand-washing stops infection from spreading by killing germs.
- Make sure your child receives all the recommended immunizations. For more information, see the topic Immunizations.
- Take your child to a smaller child care center. Fewer children means less contact with bacteria and viruses. Try to limit the use of any group child care, where germs can easily spread.
- Do not give your baby a pacifier. Try to wean your child from his or her pacifier before about 6 months of age. Babies who use pacifiers after 12 months of age are more likely to get ear infections.